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Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Boyan Jovanovic

Abstract

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jess Benhabib & Boyan Jovanovic, 2012. "Optimal Migration: A World Perspective," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 321-348, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:53:y:2012:i:2:p:321-348
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Economics of Immigration!
      by paragwaknis in Musings of the Sorts on 2016-06-19 21:01:51

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 179-208, May.
    2. Udo Kreickemeier & Jens Wrona, 2017. "Two-Way Migration between Similar Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 182-206, January.
    3. Dequiedt, Vianney & Zenou, Yves, 2013. "International migration, imperfect information, and brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 62-78.
    4. Michele Battisti & Gabriel Felbermayr & Giovanni Peri & Panu Poutvaara, 2014. "Immigration, Search, and Redistribution: A Quantitative Assessment of Native Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 5022, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Amandine AUBRY & Michal BURZYŃSKI, 2013. "The Welfare Impact of Global Migration in the OECD Countries," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013035, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 07 Jan 2015.
    6. David de la Croix & Frederic Docquier, 2015. "An Incentive Mechanism to Break the Low-skill Immigration Deadlock," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 593-618, July.
    7. Clemens, Michael & Pritchett, Lant, 2016. "The New Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment," Working Paper Series rwp16-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    8. Stark, Oded & Casarico, Alessandra & Devillanova, Carlo & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2012. "On the formation of international migration policies when no country has an exclusive policy-setting say," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 420-429.
    9. Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado & Khalid Sekkat, 2015. "Efficiency Gains from Liberalizing Labor Mobility," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(2), pages 303-346, April.
    10. George J. Borjas, 2015. "Immigration and Globalization: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 961-974, December.
    11. Assaf Razin & Steven Rosefielde, 2016. "Israel and the 1990-2015 Global Developments: Riding with the Global Flows and Weathering the Storms," NBER Working Papers 22567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Razin, Assaf, 2017. "Israel's Immigration Story: Globalization lessons," CEPR Discussion Papers 11877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Djajić, Slobodan, 2013. "Barriers to immigration and the dynamics of emigration," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 41-52.
    14. Naiditch, Claire & Vranceanu, Radu, 2010. "Equilibrium migration with invested remittances: The EECA evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 454-474, December.
    15. Slobodan Djajić & Frédéric Docquier & Michael S. Michael, 2018. "Optimal Education Policy and Human Capital Accumulation in the Context of Brain Drain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018005, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    16. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2007. "Migration and Trade in a World of Technological Differences: Theory with an Application to Eastern-Western European Integration," NBER Working Papers 13631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2016. "How Migration Can Change Income Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 22191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Iranzo, Susana & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "Migration and trade: Theory with an application to the Eastern-Western European integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-19, September.
    19. DELOGU Marco & DOCQUIER Frédéric & MACHADO Joël, 2017. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," LISER Working Paper Series 2017-16, LISER.
    20. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
    21. Ozan Hatipoglu & Serhan Sadikoglu, 2013. "No Brain Gain without Brain Drain? Dynamics of Return Migration and Human Capital Formation under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 2013/09, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General

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